Poetry by Neil Ellman

From WikiPaintings.com, Salvador Dali's Soft Self Portrait with Fried Bacon

From WikiPaintings.com, Salvador Dali’s Soft Self Portrait with Fried Bacon

Soft Self-Portrait with Fried Bacon

(after the painting by Salvador Dalí;  found poem

based on quotations by the artist)

At the age of six

I wanted to be a cook.

At seven I wanted to be Napoleon,

and my ambition has been growing

ever since.

There are some days when I think

I’m going to die

from an overdose of satisfaction.

I don’t do drugs, I am drugs.

Take me, I am the drug;

take me

I am hallucinogenic.

It is not necessary… to know

whether or not I am joking

or whether or not I am serious.

There is only one difference between

a madman and me. The madman

thinks he is sane. I know I am not.

I am not strange,

I am just not normal.

I am Surrealism.

Salvador Dali as Mona Lisa

Salvador Dali as Mona Lisa

Self Portrait as Mona Lisa

(after the painting by Salvador Dalí)

I’ve shifted paradigms

so many times

my head reels

my mustache curls

I split my personality

the one who’s me

the others not

nor knowing where I stand

sinking knee-deep in a bog

or on solid ground

or if, in fact, it’s even me

believing that the earth

is flat then round

or, just thinking,

why not square

that the earth revolves

around the sun

or the sun around

the earth

or that there is no sun

why not

in a universe

one of many where

anything is possible

I am La Gioconda

or possibly not

I think therefore I am

or even her.

Self Portrait - Basquiat

Self Portrait – Basquiat


(after the painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat)

Do you know me, who I really was

or only as a photograph on the cover

of a dog-eared magazine?

You know the one, whats-his-name,

the kid with a spray paint can

and an appetite for death.

News at Five:

“The kid who banged Madonna

fucked himself in a rush

of heroin. Story at eleven.”

b., 1960, d., 1982

“The art world celebrates his life

and auction price

rising from his death”—

my resurrection of sorts

in a life of highs and lows

I came too close to the sun

and it burned my soul

a fateful black.

Now you know me, or you don’t.

No matter, man,

what goes up must come down.